Papua New Guinea’s PM signals ‘honest and transparent’ economic repair


Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, James Marape, has outlined his government’s goals for 2021, including building up infrastructure, undertaking ‘Budget repair’ and exploring ways to invest in domestic businesses.

Prime Minister James Marape. Credit: Facebook

Weeks after surviving a bid to push him out of Papua New Guinea’s top job, Prime Minister Marape said in a statement that there will be an effort to clean up government accounts in order to be ‘honest and transparent’ about PNG’s national debts. This measure is considered to be necessary in order to win the confidence of ‘credible’ lenders, including Export Finance Australia, World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund and Exim Bank of China.

‘We picked up interest-free, or very low interest loans of under three per cent, from this pool of credible lenders to help our Budgets,’ Marape said. ‘We successfully used our two Budgets to date (2019’s K17.8 billion and 2020’s K18 billion expenditures) to balance the needs of supporting the economy and jobs while also starting the process of fiscal consolidation, which is vital for getting our budget deficits down and starting to lower our debt-to-GDP ratio.’

‘Cabinet has already approved zones for each province with investments of over US$20 million [K71 million].’

Marape said his government will continue to examine possible amendments to Mining and Petroleum legislation, and take a more assertive than previous governments approach to negotiations over resources projects – which was seen last year during the negotiations over the Wafi-Golpu project and the Porgera mine. He also flagged changes in the forestry and fisheries sectors, including increasing export levies to encourage downstream processing.

There will be an effort to create Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to attract foreign investment. ‘Cabinet has already approved zones for each province with investments of over US$20 million [K71 million],’ he said.

Government expenditures

Gary Juffa

Oro Province Governor, Gary Juffa. Credit: Gary Juffa via Facebook

Marape emphasised the role that government expenditures play in supporting jobs. ‘This includes the 60,000 jobs for teachers and all the work that flows from our SIP (services improvement) programs in funding local contractors.’

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He said the emphasis with expenditure would be more on supporting development in PNG rather than paying public sector wages. ‘Oro Governor Gary Juffa will set out ways to cut public service waste shortly,’ he said.

PNG business groups have argued that if the government paid its outstanding debts this would be an effective way to stimulate the economy. Marape indicated this would be a priority saying the aim would be to settle over K1 billion of previous bad debts and ‘outstanding arrears to service providers like road contractors, [and contractors in the] 2015 Pacific Games and APEC 2018 bills.’ He added, however, that the ‘nearly K2 billion Credit Suisse debt’ loan incurred during the tenure of Peter O’Neill has to be ‘continually’ re-financed.

Marape also pointed to providing low-cost loan facilities, through commercial banks, for MSMEs and providing freight subsidies for market access for rural produce.


Nadzab Airport. Credit: NAC

Marape outlined a number of infrastructure initiatives. ‘Our Connect PNG policies-based Budget allocations saw funding of over 100 national, regional, provincial and district roads, airports, wharves, jetties, power lines and ICT initiatives.

These include:

  • Road improvements at Tabubil-Telefomin; Lae-Finschafen-Kabwum-Sialum-Rai Coast; Kundiawa-Karamui; Goilala Highway; Gulf-Southern Highlands; Bulolo-Menyama-Kerema (Trans Island Highway); Mt Hagen-Ramu-Madang; East-West New Britain Highway; Manus Highway; Mendi-Kutubu; Komo-Koroba; Kainantu-Okapa; major island ring roads like Buka, Kiriwina, Esa’ala, Siassi, Karkar and New Hanover, North Bougainville to South Bougainville Highway; Hawain Bridge and East-West Sepik Highway; Madang-North Coast-Bogia; Kerema-Ihu road; Kiunga-Nomad; Magi and Hiritano Highway upgrades and extensions;
    Kokoda Highway; Namatanai Southern road, and major city and town roads including Lae, Kokopo, Madang, Goroka, Wewak, Lorengau and Daru.
  • Rural jetty and major wharf programs for Vanimo, Lorengau, Kikori, Kimbe and Oro Bay.
  • Continuing the ADB’s Civil Aviation Development Investment Program (CADIP) for airports and small airstrips.
  • Launching the Lae-Nadzab International Airport construction.
  • Stepping up higher voltage 132kva lines from Mt Hagen to Lae to complement the Mt Hagen to Hides line that is presently running. Fibre optic cables will be run on the new back of the lines.

Bougainville affairs

Marape said his government acknowledges ‘Bougainville as a Special Region and not as a Provincial Government,’ adding that efforts will be made to find a ‘full political settlement’ after the island’s population in 2019 registered in a referendum its unanimous support for political autonomy. He said discussions with provincial governments in PNG about possible autonomy are not like the Bougainville situation.


  1. Pell Bund says

    Thanks for the HELP LOAN for tertiary students

  2. Susan-Aris-Aba says

    We highly commend PM James Marape on taking back PNG the PANGU PLATFORM for his most highly God given mind of Wisdom to somehow break through the most needed decisions making to uphold and raise the economy where previous Prime Ministers left it at Zero % to starting it somehow now. PNG’s densely populations with poverty is going to see light with Agriculture and SMEs. Congratulations, long live PM, JM. May God bless PANGU for saving our money trees and Support Prices for ground dirty citizens to get rich from their hard labours. Romans 8:31.

    • Valid comment. A lot of work to be done by everyone in PNG. The country has good starting point we needed in terms of legislating our investment, trade, labour (economic development) policies. The vision is good and that all CEOs and leaders at all levels need to get to work in 2021. God will do the rest as we deposit our efforts and knowledge as seeds into the soil. God bless PNG

  3. Kelly Lyein says

    We can not continue to give excuses and pretend as if all is OK. Nothing is happening after 45 years of independence. All our resources were stolen by our corrupt leaders who failed miserably to be good steawards. It doesn’t need many group of leaders to provide leadership but needs one no nonsense leader to provide that leadership. I believe PM JM will not fail PNG again like in the last 45 years. May our Greatest God of the Universe continues to guide and protect PM JM.

  4. Good and visionary leaders are needed for a vibrant and prosperous PNG. More good reforms and policies are needed to narrow socioeconomic indicators. Building new road network for example for market access is a good example that needs to be addressed.

    PM Honorable JM, I am proud of you, keep striving for excellence.

  5. James Akuss says

    The timing is just perfect. We need more policy reforms. Well done job JMPM. God bless PNG

  6. Simon Rero says

    People whom you don’t trust will perform exceedingly.
    Job well done,JMPM. We as a nation expect more policy reforms for better PNG.

  7. Michael Yakawu says

    I highly commend the current PM for a tremendous & well done and planed activities.

    • Max G Samoa says

      There was a prohesy that was said boldly.God is raising A Team of Humble vibrant Leaders for certain Nations through prayers of believers for
      big masive changes .And this maybe the time for PNG

      • You are not wrong. PNG is poised to be a blessing and our human resource has to be critically addressed to become change agents. This also include our 87 per percent trapped in the Informal sector.

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